This week we are celebrating two years of living in the US. For me the move marked a return to my home country and a move to a new state, North Carolina. For my husband and three children it marked their first time living in the US after many vacations spent here.
A month before we found out we would be relocating to the US, we could have been staying in Beijing or going back to London. The decision to move to North Carolina came up very quickly and instantly we knew it was where we wanted to be.
For the first time in 17 years we would be living a stone's throw from my sister Michelle and her family. Two years on and that gift continues to surprise and delight us as we watch our children and their cousins enjoying that close bond that only cousins have. My sister and I are able to help each other out at various times. After 17 years of living thousands of miles apart it is wonderful to be able to be involved in the day-to-day minutia that makes up our family lives.
Before we relocated, I looked up articles on the topic of repatriating back to the US. I was disappointed to find that the articles mentioned very superficial things that Americans returning to their home country would appreciate again. They all seem fixated on two things: large portion sizes and the fact that you can get cheese on everything. I knew there was so much more to coming back home than those stereotypes.
So, here is my list of what has stood out to my family and I about life in America since we relocated.
- Water fountains - everywhere.
- Soda machines and free drink refills - the novelty of filling your own soda has still not worn off for my kids.
- The mailman picks up!
- Garbage disposals in the kitchen sink - never take those for granted!
- Huge recycling and garbage cans.
- Road trips - Americans think nothing of making a 12-hour-plus journey by car; they may not all have passports but they certainly do travel the US.
- Bumper stickers - I'm addicted.
- State license plates, charity license plates, personalized license plates - so colorful.
- The variety of fundraising ideas - mattress sale or mulch drive anyone?
- Donuts - Everyone knows their favorite and can order at the drive thru without a menu.
- Bacon - It seems to be on everything, maybe that is just because I am living in the South?
- The weather - Why isn't this country leading the world with solar panel installations? There is so much sun!
- Customer service - More of a stereotype but even my kids mention how nice waiters and waitresses are.
- They bag your groceries and still ask if you need help out to your car.
- Fireflies - A little piece of nature's magic.
After two years we continue to love living here in Cary, North Carolina. I am loving being a tourist in my own country and sharing all that the US has to offer with my husband and children. I don't know what the next two years has in store for us but I do know that we will continue to get as much from our US experience as possible. North Carolina, thank you for making us feel so at home!